Recently, we caught up with a few of our East End Scholars, past recipients of a Chamber Foundation Scholarship. As we approach our 10th Annual Education Symposium
, we thought we would see how they are doing today. The students answered a few questions to share insight on what the scholarship meant to them and where they are now.
Cathryn Martinez – 2017 Recipient
Since being awarded the scholarship in 2010, Martinez went on to attend Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After graduation, she landed a job at the local non-profit Career and Recovery Resources as their Community Engagement and Development Coordinator. In addition, Martinez has added to her resume by joining several boards of directors throughout the Houston region.
When asked what the scholarship meant to her, Martinez said it was one less thing she had to worry about when going to a college. “It also allowed me access to mentors in Frances, the chamber team, and the mentor designated to me.” The scholarship did much more than relieve a financial burden for Martinez. “[The scholarship] also helped give me the confidence of knowing that I had a whole organization in my corner rooting me on and hoping for my success.”
Sussy Aguirre – 2010 Recipient
After being awarded the scholarship, Aguirre attended Rice University. She graduated in May of 2014 with a double major in economics and Hispanic Studies. “I am actually going back for my executive MBA in July!” Aguirre said. Since graduating, Aguirre has been working at Accenture for almost 8 years. “I am first-generation and come from a low-income background. That comes with a lot of insecurity and imposter syndrome,” Aguirre said.
Memories of interviewing for the scholarship were still fresh in Aguirre’s mind. “I still remember being interviewed in the conference room and knowing that the people in that room believed in me more than I believed in myself.” She credits the scholarship with being instrumental in helping her pursue higher education, and for that, she will always be grateful. Since receiving the scholarship, Aguirre shared the Chamber has continuously provided her with the opportunity to give back and continue to develop her leadership skills. “I have served as a mentor to other scholarship recipients and have participated in various other events. I feel like I have gained a family and network of resources I can always reach out to if I need help,” Aguirre said. “In addition, Frances has continued to check in on me throughout the years, not because she has to, but because she wants to. That is a testament to the dedication that the East End Chamber of Commerce has to ensure every student is successful.”
Leonardo Cuellar – 2021 Recipient
Since being awarded the scholarship, Cuellar has been a student at the University of Houston (UH) - Main Campus as an English major. “Thanks to the fabulous dual credit program at Milby High School, I am blessed to say that I should graduate in 2023.” In addition to attending UH, Cuellar also works at iEducate, an organization “helping students in low-funded schools.” “Working for iEducate has convinced me this profession is for me,” Cuellar said.
Cuellar credits the East End Chamber of Commerce with creating a path for obtaining his bachelor’s degree more accessible. With the scholarship, Cuellar said he could afford to pay for his course materials and plans to give back to the community by paying it forward. In five years, Cuellar said he hopes to help students receive their education, making sure they never give up regardless of how hard life can get. “I hope I have my master's by then to reach my ultimate goal of teaching at the college level.” “I appreciate what you do,” Cuellar referencing the Chamber. “I want to thank you for helping me pay for my studies. I am forever grateful. I will update you all as my life continues.”
Katia Morales – 2019 Recipient
Katia Morales is currently a junior at the University of Houston majoring in Supply Chain Management at C.T. Bauer College of Business. Since receiving the scholarship in 2019, Morales said it not only helped her financially but also gave her an amazing mentor, Natalie Murgia, who guided her throughout her college career. Morales is grateful to Murgia for introducing her to a great network of professionals in the business industry. “I am extremely fortunate to have them in my life because as a first-generation college student everything was supposed to be new and overwhelming, but thanks to them it was not.
Currently, Morales also works for UPS. In five years, she would like to work for an energy company or at Amazon. After that, Morales said she would like to go back to school and graduate with a master’s degree. “The East End Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in helping me network with amazing professionals who have overcome many obstacles and are successful business leaders,” Morales said. “The East End Chamber of Commerce has helped me gain access to valuable resources and established long lasting friendships.”
As we near our 10th Annual Education Symposium on May 25, 2022, there’s still time for you to help us continue our mission to fund more scholars. This year we will award 26 new scholarships. You can donate today by visiting our page here
. For more information about the Education Symposium contact our Event Coordinator, Ashley Gebhardt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help us continue the great work of the Chamber by supporting our future leaders and making a students' dream come true!